Brass for making models

Hello All out there,

We are thinking about shifting to brass when it comes to make models
and model parts. In the past, I have used silver, but as I like to
keep the originals just in case the rubber mold might deteriorate, I
have ended up accumulateing quite a lot of silver pieces that I have
seldom used to make another mold but I don’t want to get rid off

Do any of you use brass Cor any other kind of base metal, say
copper- to make models? I know of a local metal supplier here that
carries lot of brassware like wire, sheet, tubing, bars, profiles,
etc., in varied measurements and thickness that could be a good and
cheap rough material to utilize: no more melting silver, rolling,
pulling wire, etc., and no more silver accumulating in the drawers.

I would really appreciate some insight, if it is or it sounds like a
good idea, if there are any particularities in working with brass,
such as which solder to used or what kind of pickle is best…

Thanks for your time.
Fernando F. E.

We use gold alloying alloy straight for such models. Less costly
than silver and so far so great!!!

john dach

Hello Fernanado;

I’ve done many, many models in both brass and silver. The only
problem with brass is that as you solder and then pickle, the zinc
leaches out of the alloy and leaves a slight coating of copper, which
makes the next soldering operation a little more difficult unless you
remove it. Usually a brass brush will do this well. I prefer to use
the white paste flux for soldering brass with standard silver
solders. If I expect to keep a brass model for a long time, I will
nickel plate it to keep it from tarnishing.

I think the brass is actually a little easier to fabricate with, as
it does not conduct heat as much as silver, so it’s easier to do
consecutive solder joints without un-soldering previous operations.

David L. Huffman

For long time I used brass for model making and it really worked
well for meas long as I made one or two molds from the model however
if you are using the model to make 10 or more molds for mass
manufacturing the surface of yourmodel oxidizes and as you clean it
each time it gets thinner and looses itsdetail. So I came up with a
solution, after your model is made attach the proper sprue, do a
pre-polish then nickel plate it, this will protect it fromgetting
oxidized and you can make as many molds you want.

I used to by all sizes of sheet, round, square, rectangle tubing and
wire from hardware stores which made things easy.

Have fun,

Purely as an interesting side note, I know of a jeweler who used to
make all his models in platinum and never scrapped them. This was
back before the gold market was reopened in the US and gold was
~$60/oz, and platinum was under $200. When the gold market reopened
and gold went to $800/oz, dragging platinum along with it, he sold
all his old models for metal. Turned out to be a nice little